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DATE: Tuesday, November 25, 1980


My usual starting time is 7%) in the morning. So at 7:00, I check in my keys, go to my warehouse, which is in the

basement. I have a routine that I leave my warehouse area, come around through the arcade, up the escalators and at

the top of the escalators I grab a left and go in front of the coffee shop, which is open and there is people in it, to the

Deli which is at that time of the morning is always closed, because it is the closest path that I have to get to the kitchen

area to start my visual inspection. Each morning I make a walk through. The doors are closed and there is a sign out in

front of it says it is closed, but they are never locked. I open one of the doors and come on in and as I enter and proceeded

to approximately the column in the middle of the Deli, I heard a crackling sound, like a fire, a roaring fire going

like a big bonfire or something and I looked to the right over to the Deli sub-station the bus station on the right

hand side (the south side of the wall) and I could see the shadow of the flames flickering as a candle flickers and I proceeded

to that Deli side station, stepped inside I could see a wall of flames on the back wall, which would be the east

wall. It was a sheet of flames running from the top of the counter to the ceiling.

NOTE: The position that Tim noted he was in he did not get the full view of the entire rear of the Deli bus area. He

could, from his position, only see th,e corner. The rest of the Deli area was obscurred from his view at the


From there, I went directly to the telephone, which is back at the entrance behind the desk and I called Security. I

told Security that they had a fire in the Deli and he asked me if it is bad enough for the Fire Department, and I said,

“Hell yes, roll em”. I hung up the phone, started back toward the fire house cabinet, which is in the hallway between

the Deli and the restaurant row. As I approached that, pressure and smoke, I was pushed backwards and knocked off

my feet in front of the booths right there and I came down in front of the booths, went over and opened the front

doors (the bi-fold doors) and swung the sign out of the way and at that time was when Security met me and they were

running across the casino and up the stairs toward me. The lead man asked me if I knew where the fire hose cabinet

was in this area. I said, “Yes, around by Barrymore”. And I ran around to the fire hose cabinet, which is inside an

alcove just outside of the Barrymore restaurant. There was nobody with me. I remembered he was taking off his gun

and handing it to another guy as I approached this, so I broke the glass, opened the fire hose (cabinet) door and as I

opened the door, he, or somebody, reached by me and spun fire house out and turned it on. I could remember seeing

the water dripping out of it so I know it was on.

The only remaining course to me was to take the bottle. I took the bottle and I went through the little passage way

there, which is a door passage way into the Deli. I entered the Deli there and he obviously took the hose and went to .

the front of the Deli, probably not knowing the passage way existed. At which time I started around the corner to go

into the bus station, which is directly around the corner from the alcove and the smoke, pressure, whatever pushed me

backwards knocking me into the alcove. .

QUESTION: You had stated that when you started to step down the two steps that come out of the little switch-back

hallway, did you see smoke, and what was it doing at the time you saw it?

Yes, I do remember seeing smoke, an extreme amount and it was swirling, it wasn’t swirling, it was like a sea in a

wind tunnel. How you see it go around something or over something, you see it was coming down and across. It was

just swirling like a wing type deal. I remember seeing it now.

QUESTION: This smoke effect appeared to be coming from what portion of the Deli?

It was coming out of the side station. Directly out of the side station and that was when pressure hit me and

knocked me backwards and then I wound up in the, when I stood up in the alcove there I remembered thinking that I

have got to go to the casino and I stood up and I was totally engulfed in smoke, but I could still see where I was going.

I remembered that I could still see the carpet. I could see the floor, but I couldn’t breath, so I got down and I started

moving and the lights went out. I don’t know if the lights went out or if I was engulfed in more smoke or whatever it

was, but I could not see, I could not breath and somehow headed for the Casino I wound up against the stairs in

Caruso and when I got to the stairs at Caruso, knowing the hotel as I do, I went up the stairs, across a little parfit and

hit the doors there, which were fortunately unlocked, they were chained, but they were unlocked. That’s how I exited

the area. I never got into the casino. I never seen the security or the actual fire, after my first encounter with it. I never

seen the fire, but I never felt heat, but the smoke was intense.

QUESTION: (Tom C/em) Tim would you describe the difference between the environment that you were in at the

front of the gate, versus the other side of the gate as far as the smoke, heat or whatever?

Yes. After I opened it, I knew, because there was no air, I could not breath. As I was going through there I

remember when I got to the stairs, I kept thinking of the fountain, which is right inside Caruso. I felt those stairs and

there is only one set of stairs. They go to Caruso. When I got inside and I opened the doors I could stand up. I could

see the lights were on and there was air. Smoke had not entered that. It was headed toward the casino and it was not

going into that at that moment and I ran on through there and at that time for some reason, two people came out of

the kitchen area, they came out of the electric doors. So the electricity was on in there. And I still don’t know if the

lights went off or whether I was just totally engulfed in smoke in restaurant row. That still puzzles me.

QUESTION: (Tom Clem) You are saying then Tim that it could have been possible that the smoke was obscuring

the lights that were in the ceiling?

This is what I am thinking because at this time of the day all of those restaurants, Barrymore, Caruso, Gigi are all

closed. They are in the process of cleanup. There are lights on inside of there that that they turn up so that they can

clean up and they turn down when they are through. At that time of the morning, at 7:00 in the morning Barrymore is

usually being vacuumed. At 790 in the morning Caruso is usually closed as is Gigi and they alternate with them as far

as vacuuming and carpeting cleaning, which is a constant process.

QUESTION: (Tom Clem) I want to go back to when you originally saw the shadow of flickering flames and you

went up through the entrance door of the deli bus stand and you looked in the back. I want you to describe the level of

the flames. Where they were as opposed to were they on the floor, were they on the shelf, the ceiling? Describe that for


When I stepped in, I looked at this wall of flame. It was running from the counter to the ceiling and I remembered

since then that there is a shelf along there and as I looked in those flames, I could not see this shelf, cause it was just a

wall of flame and it was just like a bon-fire in the open. It was really...really on fire. I mean it’s really hot and burning

and that’s the impression that I got there, but it was running from the top of the counter up to the ceiling.

QUESTION: (Tom Clem) And from your best observation, it did not appear that it was coming from the ground, or

the floor or the tile?

No. It was definitely not coming from the floor. There was no question in my mind at all. It was from the top of

the counter up. It was not coming, it was not below the countertop, which is a stainless steel countertop. This I

definitely remembered.

QUESTION: Tim, I also know that from our previous conversation before we taped, that you were involved in some

of the interior finish work, tile work in this room. Would you describe for us the tile, where it was and how it ran and a

little more of the interior finish that you described a few minutes ago to me?

The original on this, behind each one of the booths, or on the booths walls behind in the alcoves, all the booths sit

in kind of an alcove effect. There was tile running from the booth from just below the top of the booths to the top of

the ceiling with pictures on all these walls of all the entertainers of the past and that ran in all of the booth areas, all the

way around the entire room. Approximately a year to a year and a half ago we had gone in and put in tile floors and

bays in each one of the two bus stations, had completely redone the bus station in the back and taken out the counters

in there and put all tile all the way around all the added booth areas from the back of the sub station in question all the

way around to the kitchen area in the back and the interior on the back wall of that sub-station we put tile on.

QUESTION: The construction, the finish materials of the bus station. How did that...

That was masonite, either formica or masonite, I really don’t know what it is, it’s about one eighth of an inch

thick and it is a very non-porous, slick finish. It is easy to clean and it is locked in with glue and little metal runners and

they ran that from the top of the base to the ceiling in each one of the bus stations in the room for cleanliness and to

elminate any breakage in the walls due to the carts and throwing of the dishes, etc.

QUESTIONS: How did the finish of the walls that were not tiled differ from the tiled walls, as far as the finished -


They were dry wall. Taped dry wall with wallpaper. I don’t remember the wallpaper in here. This you would have

to check with our wallpaper people downstairs. They have replacements in stock for this for all of the rooms in here,

so you could get a piece of that if you wanted it.

QUESTION: Who would be in charge of that, the wallpaper?

The wallpaper in there would be Warran Garner.

QUESTION: (Wayne Burns) Tim, to go back one more time, when you stepped inside of the area where you could

see the backs of the Deli side station and you made reference to a wall of flame in there, could you go into a little more

detail as to the size of it, approximately how wide it was, what portion of the wall appeared to be engulfed in flames?

From what I could see, it was a total mass of flames. It ran from the top of the counter to the ceiling. It was burning

really strong, really...like a...1 don’t know how to describe it. Like a really big bon-fire, where the flames were

really just jumping up. It’s really burning out of control. You know, if it would have been a small type fire, I would

have notified security and acted a little differently. It was totally out of control. I remember this explicitly that it was

totally out of control. That it was nothing that I could handle... we had to get the fire department. We had to get the

people who knew what they were doing. I am not a fire fighter. I know nothing about fire and I am not about to play

games with it. I have people in that business. My son is very well educated in that and he has stressed the point to me

that I know nothing. Give it to somebody who knows what they are doing.

QUESTION: (Tom Clem) If we ran an analogy of a controlled log in a fireplace, that flickering and that vine of

flame that would come up from that would be alot different than the type of roaring flame...

Yes. To me, as I can remember in my mind, it would be like a roaring “fed” fire, where you have extreme gases

or something hitting it, just screaming up.. . not just a nice easy burning fire like in a fireplace, but I mean a very hard

fire, where it is really out of control, just going for all it was worth. -

QUESTION: That was on the 21st, yesterday, November Zlst.

Yes. We met in the Engineer Shop at about quarter to 7, had a cup of coffee and discussed the work situation. I

had two men that had come in earlier and they were in the Zeigfield drying out a floor that I had set the previous day.

Two of the men went to the 10th floor to change their clothes. At 7%) I picked up my keys, went to the shop, opened it

up and the other two were there and I went up, as I usually do. I came out of the garage, down through security by the

elevators, up the escalators past the coffee shop and into the Deli. I have a habit of going through the Deli because it is

closed this time of the day. I can go into the kitchen on my way down through the back hallway to the Zeigfield where

I was going. As I entered, I opened the doors in the Deli (which the doors are always closed, they are not locked, they

are just closed) I walked inside, getting inside about half way, probably near the column in the middle there, I heard a

crackling sound to the right and I seen the shadow of fire in the bus station on the south side of the Deli, or the

righthand side there. I went over to there...

QUESTION: Now the right hand side, that’s as you are standing at the door, you are looking into the Deli, right inside?

Yes. And I went over there immediately and looked inside and there was fire shooting from the stainless steel pan

up to the ceiling. It was a sheet of fire. I could not see the wall, it was just a sheet of fire there. But it was just from the

pan to the ceiling. So I immediately ran back through the tables to the entrance there and behind the cashiers counter

there is a telephone. I pushed the buttons, 4481, notified the security they had a fire in the Deli. He said, Is it enough

to roll the fire department? I says Yes, get them going. I immediately went back to the scene of the fire in the bus station.

Just as I started in there I realized as I am headed for it that there is a fire hose cabinet on the back side of the

small hallway that goes from the Deli to the Barrymore, or Restaurant Row, there. There is a fire hose cabinet there. I

have done the marble and tile work here and I know the area well. I started for this and I was blown back by pressure.

Not by heat or by flames, but by pressure.

QUESTION: Air pressure?

Air pressure is what it felt like...

QUESTION: What direction was it flowing?

It was coming towards me.

QUESTION: Into the building?

No, it was going from the fire out toward the casino, air pressure.

QUESTION: Was it warm air, or just.. .

I didn’t feel any heat. I don’t remember feeling any heat. I have no sense of smell so I don’t know if there was any

smell involved or not. So I turned and I ran back out, opened both doors in the Deli, swung the sign out of the way so

that security could get in there, because I assumed that they would be bringing something. At that time, three security

officers came from the casino, one of them running very hard and trying to take off his gun at the same time, the small

Italian guy. I don’t know his name. But the three security men came there and the one guy in the lead (the Italian fella)

he asked me “is there a fire hose cabinet in this area?” I said “Yes, around by the Barrymore”. And I ran as hard as I

can around through Restaurant Row back through the Barrymore and I beat him there and I hesitated there for a second

thinking he was there and would have a key. And when he wasn’t there, I broke the glass on fire hose cabinet,

opened it and I reached for the hose and at that time he got ahold of the hose, I assume that it was him. I never

seen...there was somebody along side of me who grabbed the hose, started reeling it out and turning the water on.

There was a bottle there, fire entinguisher bottle. I grabbed the bottle and when he went into the Restaurant Row I

went around through this. I don’t know whether he knew that that was a travelers entrance into the Deli or not. It was

the shortest distance to the fire, but he would not have known that. I did. I went that way with the fire hose bottle and

as I got through the door, I turned the bottle on and the pressure blew me back against the wall. It was not heat, it was

not fire, it was pressure and extreme black smoke. It blew me back against the wall.

QUESTION: Like a real strong gust of wind...away from the fire?

Yes. That was the way it hit me, but it seemed to be more pressure.

QUESTION: At this time how large was the fire? Was it growing rapidly?

I didn’t see the fire. The fire was on the back side of this. All there was was extreme black smoke and I did not see any


QUESTION: And a strong gust of wind and that’s when you decided to get out?

Well, it hit me and moved me backwards and I turned to go back toward the casino, to go around that way to

confront it and either smoke or the electricity went off, because I had no more... I could not see anything and I could

not breath. The smoke engulfed me and I could not breath and I hit the deck and the hose was going out so I assumed

that they were confronting the fire from the front and I could not see where the casino was. I had no idea where it was,

it was totally black.

QUESTION: You don’t happen to know the names of either one of these people you mentioned?

I have no idea. There was three security men and I have no idea who the three of them are.

QUESTION: O.K. You know this is being taped for statement purposes? You are aware of that?


QUESTION: If we need to get a written statement from you, would you make one for us at any time?

I would be glad


Transcript of interview conducted with Dave Beshoar, 26year-old fire fighter from West Springs, IL. November 22,

1980 at the MGM Hotel site in Las Vegas, NV.

Beshoar was one of four West Springs fire fighters on’vacation in Las Vegas and staying at the MGM. Two of these

men perished in the fire.

We walked into the Orleans Room at 7: 15 - the reason I know that is that there was a man sitting at the first table

and he asked the waitress what time it was and she said 7:15 and I jokingly remarked to him, “That’s a.m.” We sat

down, they brought us our coffee, had a couple sips, a security guard walked in through the door - we were about the

second table in to the right as you faced into the restaurant - and I could see him walk in, he was looking right at me.

He said (not quoted) Gentlemen, I’m going to have to ask you to leave, there’s a small fire next door and we’re

evacuating this area as a precautionary measure. So we got up and left and were the first ones to reach the door and

there were people already running out from behind us. The smoke at that point out in the hallway was about a little bit

higher than head height, we looked into the deli, which was to our left, and there was heavy smoke in there and we

could see flame through the smoke.

There was a security guard standing there - I don’t know if it was the same one who asked us to leave, but we identified

ourselves as fire fighters and asked him for a fire extinguisher or hose line and we’d help knock down the fire till

the fire department got here. He said they were not accessible, said they couldn’t get to them, so we went looking for

some ourselves. We walked all the way back to the north wall and then back to the east past the elevators looking for a

fire extinguisher or hose line and we couldn’t find one, so we went back to the restaurant area outside the doors.

By that time the smoke was really billowing out of the deli area. You could see quite a bit more flames. The smoke

at that point out in the hall area was about waist height and there were still people coming out of the Orleans Room, so

we instructed them to all get down low and make their way out that way so they could get fresh air, of course. We

started working our way toward these fire exit doors along the north wall here ourselves. When we got here there was

one door open, we opened the rest of the doors, we stayed back to make sure everybody was out. The only people we

saw still in there were casino people, several guards, and perhaps a small handful of (I imagine) they were dealers.

At that point there was a loud click, the lights went out, and the whole casino floor darkened. You could hardly

see the smoke billowing across the ceiling, all the way across the casino floor toward the west end. We looked back

toward the restaurant area and the flames were already coming out toward where the ceiling raises up over the casino.

At that point, standing at this door over here in the middle of the north wall, the heat was already getting so intense

we had to leave. So we came outside and the rest I think is history and you can gather that from these people.

QUESTION: Wasn’t there kind of a backflash (flashover)?

No, well, I was still inside until possible as long as a minute after the electricity went out. I don’t recall any type of

backdraft situation.

QUESTION: No big ball of fire?

No, the deli restaurant was totally involved at that point and the flames were curling out along the ceiling working

toward that higher ceiling over the casino coming out almost straight west by northwest.


I came out before the line was advanced into the building through this door and we were standing approximately

right here in front of these revolving doors and that’s when the chairs and suitcases and everything else started coming

through the windows, so we went across the street and just watched from there.

Eight to ten minutes after we were asked to leave the restaurant that canopy was burning. It was so super heated

within no more than four minutes could have elapsed, that by the time we got to these doors we stood there until we

couldn’t take the heat anymore. I don’t know, within three or four minutes-it was super heating along the top of the

ceiling and once that flame hit the higher casino roof, there was no stopping it. Everything was there - the heat, the oxygen

content was good - the only thing they needed was open flame and as soon as it hit that roof it raced.

QUESTION: There is a theory going around that there was a delayed alarm because it spread too fast,. . .

No, absolutely not because the first rig was parked right here by the time I hit that door the first time. The very

first time, and that couldn’t have been more than two minutes maybe.

QUESTION: There was no delayed alarm?

None, and two minutes later it’s pouring out. (Background comment). Oh, it was incredible. I’m sure those

guards that were in there - when I left because it was too hot - I don’t know, I seriously question whether or not they

made it out. They were sitting right across from here - we could see them from this door - we could see people still on

the casino floor and they were all dressed in security uniforms and I don’t know.


Report of Interview with Alice Brown, 2133 Glen Heather Way, Las Vegas, Nevada, on November 22, 1980.


Ms. Brown is a Cashier in the Coin Cage at the MGM Hotel Casino. She was working the 11:00 p.m., November 20,

1980 to 7:00 a.m., November 21, 1980 Shift. She stated as follows:

That about lo:30 p.m. on November 20, 1980, she was walking on the Audry St. side of the MGM enroute to the

employees entrance. She looked up at the building and saw yellow orange sparks emanating from an area of the

building near the new construction on the south side of the building. She then proceeded to the employees time clock

area and reported what she saw to the security guard who was on duty. As she walked away from the security desk she

heard the guard on the phone reporting what she’d seen.

Ms. Brown was asked if she noticed anything during her shift or whether she observed any flickering lights. She

stated that she didn’t observe anything unusual or smell anything, but she did say that she had noticed flickering lights

frequently while employed at the MGM. She said that it was common for the lights to dim and flicker and she

wouldn’t necessarily pay any attention to that.

Ms. Brown stated that she left the coin cage at 7:15 a.m. and went to check out. By the time she got to the

employee area and checked out someone told her there was a fire in the casino. When she walked to the parking lot

and looked back the flames were already visible


Statement of Richard W. Haynes, Special Agent, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms, Las Vegas, Nevada, made

on November 24, 1980.

During the evening hours of November 21, 1980, I was located in the office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco &

Firearms, located at Room 312 Federal Building, 300 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas, Nevada. My responsibilities

during this period consisted of maintaining radio communications with agents located on the fire scene at the MGM

Grand Hotel, locating and interviewing via telephone, certain witnesses as directed by agents on the scene and in

general coordinating communications between agents on the scene and those elsewhere employed.

During the hours 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., November 21, 1980, I had occasion to telephonically contact, or attempt

to contact the below identified individuals with the indicated results:

Eva Gibson (702-457-3999); Ms. Gibson advised she did not notice any flickering of the electrical lights prior to or

during the fire. Gibson further stated that she would like to add the following information to the interview she had

given Special Agent Deal of this Office.

1. That subsequent to the fire she had been told by the mother of Glenn Martin, (649-1295), a busboy employed

in the Coffee Shop at the MGM, that Glenn stated he had smelled smoke just prior to departing the MGM on

November 21, 1980 at approximately 7:00 a.m.

2. That the wall she observed bursting into flames was the wall opposite that which divides the coffee shop and


Robert Lee (702-459-2051); that he had not noticed any flickering of electrical lights prior to or during the fire in the

Coffee Shop area.

Clara Mefferd - telephone number given was 496-5576. I was informed by the telephone operator that no prefix such

as 496 exists in the Las Vegas Metropolitan area. All subsequent efforts to contact Ms. Mefferd proved unsuccessful.

Jim Connor - believed to be a tile fitter who frequented the Coffee Shop. Telephone number 451-5504, was repeatedly

tried with no answer.

S/Richard W. Haynes, Special Agent, ATF



Report of interview with Bobby Combs on November 21, 1980 at approximately 5:45 p.m. via telephone from

702-385-6584, (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Office, Room 312 Federal Building, Las Vegas, Nevada),

to 702-451-8276, (Residence of Bobby Combs), by Special Agent Richard W. Haynes, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco

and Firearms.

Mr. Combs stated that he is employed as a Blackjack Dealer by the MGM Casino and that on the morning of

November 21, 1980, he had reported for work at 4:OO a.m. Combs stated that at approximately 7:00 a.m. on

November 21, 1980, he was dealing Blackjack in the casino when he heard a commotion coming from and saw people

running in and about the end of the Casino near the Coffee Shop. At first Combs thought it was a fight until someone

yelled “Fire”. At this time he saw dense black smoke entering the Casino area from the area of the Coffee Shop.

Combs’ Pitboss told all dealers to put a “lid” on the games. Combs reported that by the time he had reached under

the table, located and placed the glass lid over the chip tray, he looked up to see bright red flames reaching half way to

the ceiling, rolling down the step area located at the end of the Casino adjacent to the coffee shop. Combs stated he

hesitated only a short time and then headed for the casino exit. Before reaching the door the Casino’s lights were completely

blacked out by the smoke and Combs stated that for an instant he didn’t think he would make it to the doors.

Combs stated that he was not positive, but that his impression was that the smoke had an odor about it of burning

electrical wire. Combs stated that neither prior to or during the above described episode did he notice any flickering of

the lights. When asked if he knew a Frank Massi or Frank Manti believed to be a stagehand at the MGM, he stated he

did not.

S/Richard W. Haynes, Special Agent, ATF -


Report of Interview with Doris Kitsmiller, 321 Oil Lantern Lane, Las Vegas, Nevada, 878-1049 by John F. Rice, at the

h4GM on November 22, 1980.

Mrs. Kitsmiller is the head hostess at the MGM Coffee Shop, Deli and Dealers’ Lounge. On November 21, 1980,

she went off duty about 2:30 a.m. She had been working since 6:00 p.m. on November 20, 1980.

Mrs. Kitsmiller stated that she was constantly through the Coffee Shop and Deli Area during her shift. She did

not smell any smoke or notice any flickering of lights or see anything unusual during this time. She also stated that

none of her employees reported anything unusual to her during the shift.

Mrs. Kitsmiller said that she closed the Deli at approximately 1:lO a.m. on November 21, 1980. The Deli is open

from 8:00 a.m. to 1:OO a.m. daily. Mrs. Kitsmiller stated that the Deli is not locked when it’s closed. She went on to

say that she checked the Deli again at 2:30 a.m. before going off duty. She stated that everything was normal at that


S/John F. Rice, Special Agent, ATF


My employee number is 27370 and I work in the Coffee Shop, Orleans Room.

I went into the Deli between 5 and 6. I put the deli out in each station, 1, 2, and 3, and I left, out of the deli.

QUESTION: Did you see anything, smell anything, hear anything?

I didn’t see a thing.



Report of Interview with Jean Hartman, 4236 Cottage Circle, #4, Phone 734-2275, by Special Agent John F. Rice, on

November 24, 1980.

Ms. Hartman is employed at the Grand Gift Shop on the Basement Level of the MGM Grand Hotel. The Gift

Shop is located at the bottom of the escalator to the casino.

Ms. Hartman stated that on November 20, 1980, about 8:45 a.m. she came to work at the Gift Shop. Upon entering

the Gift Shop she noticed that there was a smokey haze in the area. She said the smoke had an odor similar to car

exhaust. She said that the odor cleared up after about ten minutes with people coming in and out. She said that she

didn’t notice anything else during the rest of the day.



Statement of Verlin Charles Everist, Jr., made at 4324 San Angelo Street, on November 22, 1980 in the presence of

Special Agents Richard W. Haynes and Douglas W. Coombs of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms.

My name is Verlin Charles Everist Jr. and my nickname is Buster. I have been employed eight years at the MGM

Hotel and have been dealing craps for the last four years. I had started the 2:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. shift on November

20, 1980. On November 20, 1980 at 7:OO a.m. I was taking the escalator from the lower floor, where the dealer break

room is located, to the Casino Floor. The escalator is located adjacent to the Deli and Coffee Shop area. In the

escalator well I noticed a mist or haze, and a slight smell of smoke in that area. I continued up to the Casino floor,

dealt my shift for one hour and upon my return down the escalator to the break room, I did not notice the haze or

smoke smell. I did not hear anyone else mention about the haze at that time and I forgot about it until the fire break

out the next morning. After I had evacuated the MGM on the morning of the 21st of November, I was having a drink

with my Shift Boss George Roota (phonetic), and I mentioned this incident to him.

Subscribed and Sworn to before me

this 22nd day of November, 1980

S/Richard W. Haynes, Special Agent, ATF


S/Douglas W. Coombs, Special Agent, ATF


Report of interview with Kent Oborn, on November 21, 1980, at 1809 Harwood Street, N. Las Vegas, Nevada, by

Special Agent Douglas W. Coombs, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms and Larry Bouchette, Las Vegas,

Nevada Fire Investigator.

Mr. Oborn stated that he has been employed by the MGM as a Chef since December of 1973. Mr. Oborn stated

that on the morning of November 21, 1980, he was working the 7:OO a.m. till 3:00 p.m. shift. Mr. Oborn stated that at

approximately 7:lO a.m., while he was cooking bacon on the broiler, a waitress came up to him and stated there was a

fire in the Deli. Mr. Oborn stated he did not know the identity of the waitress. Mr. Oborn said that he went into the

Deli and observed flame extending approximately two feet all around the Keno Board in the Deli. Mr. Oborn stated

that the Keno Board is located on the south wall in between the side stand and the east wall. Mr. Oborn also said that

the Keno Board was approximately three feet by four feet.

Mr. Oborn said that these flames were orange and red in color and were accompanied by black smoke.

Mr. Oborn said as soon as he saw the flames he immediately went to the telephone and notified the operator that

there was a bad fire in the Deli. Mr. Oborn stated that he then grabbed the water hose and was about to spray the fire,

but he heard someone say don’t put water on an electrical fire. Mr. Oborn said he then just dropped the hose on the

floor. Mr. Oborn said the lights then went out in the Kitchen Deli Area.

Mr. Oborn stated he then saw the fire was getting out of control and he advised his fellow workers to get out of

the kitchen. Mr. Oborn stated that he and his fellow employees exited through a smoke filled hallway which led to an

emergency door.



I, Harvey B. Ginsberg, being 38 yers of age and residing at 5350 Hibbetts Drive, City of Las Vegas, State of Nevada,

wish to make the following statement:

On the morning of November 21, 1980, I had scheduled a business breakfast to be held in the MGM Grand Coffee

Shop at approximately 7:15 a.m. I left my car under the canopy of the west entrance of the MGM for valet parking

and was approximately the sixth car in line. I left my car without taking a parking ticket and entered the west entrance

of the hotel approximately 7: 18 a.m. Upon entering the hotel I noticed a foggy, smokey atmosphere, especially in the

ceiling area of the casino. My first impression was the air conditioning system was not working properly. At this point

I did not anticipate that the smoke was a result of fire, since business was proceeding as usual in the casino.

I walked down the middle aisle of the casino in the direction of the coffee shop. I arrived at the steps at the rear of

the casino at approximately 7:20 a.m. At this point I noticed some flickering flames which appeared to come from the

direction of the escalator. At just about the same time, I noticed people running in various directions near the newsstand

and in front of the escalator near the coffee shop and deli. It appeared as though panic was setting in, so I turned

around and trotted approximately halfway back out of the casino in a westerly direction. At this point I felt safe,

however, after turning around and looking toward the rear of the casino, I noticed that the flames had already entered

the casino area and appeared to be a swiftly rolling wall of flame reaching from floor to ceiling.

I then started to run toward the front of the casino as fast as I could. While I was running, other people started to

run and chairs from the Black Jack table were strewn in the aisle, and as a matter of fact, I tripped on one of them but

still managed to get out of the casino in about 20-25 seconds, from the point halfway in the casino.

Upon leaving the west entrance I noticed that my car was still in front of the hotel and that it was now first in line.

I jumped in my car and drove across Flamingo and entered the underground parking of the Barbary Coast Hotel. I

parked in the first spot reserved for registered guests at the Barbary Coast and then walked out of the parking lot onto

Flamingo. From the time I entered my car to the time I left my car and walked back onto Flamingo, the time elapse

was approximately 45 seconds.

As soon as I arrived back on Flamingo, I noticed the flames had broken through the west entrance of the hotel

and were now engulfing the canopy, as well as the entire area surrounding the front of the hotel.

It is my impression, that from the time I entered the hotel at 7:18 a.m. to the time that I was outside the hotel and

noticed the front entrance on fire, the elapsed time was approximately 5-6 minutes.

S/Harvey S. Ginsberg


Report of interview with Mrs. Eva Gilson, Phone # 457-3999, on November 21, 1980, at 5:30 p.m. in Las Vegas,

Nevada made to Special Agent James D. Deal, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Mrs. Gibson states that she is employed at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, in the Coffee Shop.

Mrs. Gibson states that she arrived to work in the Coffee Shop at approximately 6:25 a.m. on the morning of

November 21, 1980. She further states that she observed nothing, nor smelled anything out of the ordinary. However,

Mrs. Gibson did state that the sewage system was being cleaned and that it smelled bad in the kitchen area.

Mrs. Gibson stated that she saw smoke coming from the Delicatessen area one second and then observed the wall

which separates the Coffee Shop from the Delicatessen area burst into a reddish orange colored flame. At this point

Mrs. Gibson left the area immediately and escaped the ensuing fire.

S/James D. Deal, Special Agent, ATF



Report of interview with Mr. Robert Lee, Phone# 459-2051, on November 21, 1980, at 6:15 p.m. in Las Vegas,

Nevada, made to Special Agent James D. Deal, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.

Mr. Lee states that he is employed at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, in the Commissary Department.

Mr. Lee states that he arrived at work at 6:00 a.m. on the morning of November 21, 1980. Mr. Lee further states

that he observed nothing or smelled anything out of the ordinary.

Mr. Lee states that he was first notified there was a fire in the building by one Jose Varges, who is an employee of

the MGM Grand Hotel. Mr. Lee stated that Mr. Varges led a small group of people out of the hotel. Mr. Lee further

stated that he left the casino area before he had a chance to observe any flames or smoke.

S/James D. Deal, Special Agent, ATF



My name is Louis Miranti, I work at MGM. My address is 315 1 Eastern, Las Vegas, Nevada. At the time, at 6:00

o’clock or 6:20 on the morning of the fire, Friday, I was working in the eye in the sky and I was at approximately 6:20

a.m. standing in the sky over Pit #l which is the main pit in the “21” games. The pit is approximately across from the

casino cage, the opposite end of the casino. I was down there checking the game between 6:20 or 6:25 and approximately

a quarter to 790 or ten minutes to 7:00 I noticed nothing unusual in the casino. I headed back to my office

which was towards the front of the casino on the north side, northwest side of the casino corner. I went up the, went

through the two doors and, the two doors that leads me to the executive elevators going to the third floor. I went up

the elevator going to the third floor. I went up the elevator to the third floor, went to my office which was somewhere

close, or between the public relations office and the auditing office. That’s the door to the eye. I looked into the eye

and it was about almost five minutes to seven, no smoke, I smelled nothing, saw nothing unusual, stayed up on the

third floor elevation, went into my office which is the extreme west end of the eye in the sky. Ah, approximately, I sat

down to make my hourly report approximately five or ten minutes after seven I heard crackling noises and I didn’t

think that was too unusual because they weren’t too loud and at that hour in the morning morning we usually get

maintenance men up sometime to clean up or vacuum the floors and, ah, so when I heard the noises I was figuring

well, in another minute or two Security always beings them up. He’ll come and check with me that’s it. Well, five more

minutes went by and the crackling sounds got worse. In fact, the noise was so unusual me being up there for so many

years I knew every sound. That sound was so unusual that I says I’d better take a look. And, ah, it felt like, it sounded

like a crackling sound of a very intense fire. That’s the way it sounded. I went out of my office, I went over to the

landing, the stairwell, and I looked into the sky and before I went down the steps I could see oh, approximately 300

feet or more, that is, if you want to pinpoint it, from the west end of that sky I would be looking a little bit beyond east

of the casino cages, which would bring me somewhere maybe 100, 150 feet from the casino cages so you are looking at

maybe 100 feet west of the Deli and the rest, the Coffee Shop’s door. I was west, maybe I could see 100 feet west of

that, those doors, and I saw this billow of smoke, like a tidal wave coming towards me. Ah, just a flash came to my

mind, it’s coming too fast, you’d better run. So I just turned around instead of going to the office to pick up anything,

I knew it was coming that fast. I just opened the door and ran out of the sky, shut the door behind me. I thought

maybe I could slow it up. I didn’t see any flame, all I saw was smoke, so I thought I’d slow up the smoke. Well, I ran

to the hallway leading back to the executive offices and the executive elevators. The elevator wasn’t there so I ran

down the steps. I got down to the bottom of the steps and there’s a double doors there that go into the casino in the

area of the front desk and the, between the front desk and the bell captain’s desk. I saw through the glass that all the

smoke, and it was almost to the glass, but I looked out and saw it already took over the front end, but I felt the heat

and I knew if I opened those doors, unconsciously I knew, that if I opened the doors I’d never make it to the front

door because it was already enveloped. But the heat of that smoke that I felt through the doors I knew that I had to get

out of there and I ran back up the stairs. And when I got to the top landing of the stairs I found that the, that the

hallway that I came out of, that leads from the auditing department was full of smoke already. In other words, that

smoke followed me out of that, in that hallway. I found that I couldn’t go back down the stairs. The elevator was out.

The only thing left for me to do was to break the windows, the glass doors rather, that led into the executive offices. I

broke those doors with my shoulder, ran through the executive offices, broke the two double doors on the other end,

the back end, of the executive offices. The only thing I think that saved my life is I knew there was an exit in the

auditing office, so I, at that point, I had to make a decision either to go straight towards the computer room or turn

left by the toilet and go around the toilet and go into that side and I decided to take that route because for fear that

there may be some locked doors if I went straight and I made the right decision. Because when I got to auditing, those

doors 1 had to push them open and I ran through auditing and at the end of that room which, where the big safe is, is

maybe 100 feet, I found this door that I knew was there. I opened it and it was full of smoke. But I looked behind me

and I saw the smoke was chasing me there too and I knew I couldn’t go back. So I held that door open and I looked

down at the floor and I see two brand new turkish towels. I picked them up, put them in my face and went to the

closest, that I thought would be the closest exit. I looked in that hallway, I shut my eyes and I felt the doors, I felt the

first one and it was locked. The second one was open. I got in there, stepped down, I ran my foot up and down to see if

it was concrete. It was. I knew I had the right door. I grabbed for a rail and I went down three, I think three flights of

stairs. I got to the base of the stairway, I opened by eyes and I saw pitch black. My eyes started burning. I closed them

and I said I better take one more shot and I’ll yell for help. I took the towel off of my face and I took in all the smoke

and I was able to holler for help and I heard a voice about maybe 200 feet to my right and I said, and he says, the voice

says, come this way. And I said you’d better keep talking because I can’t hear you, I mean I could hear you but I can’t

see you. You’d better keep talking. And then I covered my mouth and I seem to have taken in too much smoke at that

point. And I headed for that direction and I headed towards the voice. I got maybe 100, 150 feet, maybe 125 feet and I

knew that was the last breath I could take in that towel because the towel was saturated. I took the breath and I figured


I’d drop to the ground and maybe I could pick up some air on the ground and crawl to the guy. But I seemed to maybe

lost consciousness at that time and I had my hand out in front of me trying to protect myself while I was running that I

wouldn’t hit anything and I felt someone grab my hand and pull me out. The next thing I knew was the security guard

was pulling on my left hand saying, pulling the towels away from my mouth because I probably was in shock and I

wouldn’t let go and he was pulling that off of me and saying, “Breathe fresh air, breathe fresh air” and he pulled the

towels away from me and he brought me to. And we were outside the, the big sliding doors, the delivery doors on the

south end of the, south, west end of the building behind the Hallelujah Hollywood stage where they make deliveries

for scenery. And he had me out those doors. I was just lucky that he came in to take a look around to see if there was

anybody else in there and I happened to catch him at that moment. He brought me to outside. Then a car picked me

up and took me around the building to the Flamingo side where I told him my car was parked and he took me to the

fire department and the fire department gave me some air, saved my life, and I got in my car and went straight to the

Sunrise Hospital, stayed there about 28 hours and Dr. Venger released me. And that’s it.


Okay, this is Investigator Wayne Burns. We’re going to have a taped statement from Firefighter Bert Sweeny.

The time is X-42 a.m. on November 27, 1980. At this time we are inside the Flamingo entrance to the MGM Hotel.

Okay Bert, if you can just start from the beginning and tell me everything that happened when you pulled up on

Engine II and stopped the truck.

Okay, understand we left the station at 7: 18, pulled in 97 at 7: 19, we dismounted the truck, put on our high-rise

gear, walked in through the swinging doors, and went down to the exit entry ramp to the casino floor, straight in front

of the doors. At that time...

QUESTION: About how far is that, Bert, from the exit door?

It’s roughly 36 to 40 feet.


Okay, at that time all of us stopped and, ah, you can see ah, sort of a stratified layer of black smoke, just a small

one back in say the first quarter of the casino floor from the area of origin. Okay, at the same time we noticed this

stratified layer which was probably down about 6 to 8 feet from the ceiling. Ah, a fire ball and a heavy dense black

cloud with a little bit of flame visible in tne perimeter of the flames started rolling out. The main body of the rolling

cloud was in contact with the ceiling and as it came out towards the center of the casino ah, it just sort of angled back

to where it was touching the floor as it came out. At that time that we saw it first coming towards us we turned back

around and it took roughly twelve seconds to get from where we seen it at first to get back to the doors. By that time

the smoke had dropped down to within about four feet of the floor. We came through the swinging doors and out to

the engine which took about a total elapsed time of 25 seconds at the pace we were walking from the point we seen it

coming out of the area of origin until we got to the engine. At the same time we got to the engine I looked down to the

west end of the hotel and saw the fire break out of the overhang for the valet parking area.

QUESTION: That rapidly, hmm? Let’s backtrack just a little bit and tell me what you observed when you got off

the engine in reference to people or smoke or fire or whatever.

Okay, when we pulled in there was no smoke visible, there was no rush of people trying to get out of the hotel. I

remember one female standing to the right of the doors as we pulled up and she was coughing and crying a little bit.

Dressed in a dark velvet type dress suit type thing, you know. Okay, that’s really, there may have been some more people

off to the other side of the entry way but there was, you know, there wasn’t any indication of any panic or

anything and ah, went on in. Okay, also when we got back out, this fire had broken out of the ah, valet area down

there. At the same time the fire through these glass doors off to this side threw them open and the fire was burning

with a fire storm appearance, you know, from the floor up and it was swirling and that’s where we set our first attack

line in there. I got in about 30 feet and Captain Smith and one of the other firefighters came in, I believe, this door


QUESTION: This, ah, the door you’re making reference to is a revolving door approximately 20 feet inside of the

main swinging doors on the Flamingo side, right?

Right. And then we had sort of a perimeter established. I think the feeling was if there were still people inside,

they would have a haven to get to, you know to get on out and sort of hold things in check. You can see the ceiling

where we were. Pretty much intact.

QUESTION: You made reference Bert, to the fire breaking out, on the east side of where you had originally stopped

the engine.


QUESTION: Now, how far is that from the main entrance where you came in?

Ah, approximately 10 to 15 feet east of the main entrance.

QUESTION: And you say you did see the fire rolling out then after you had exited the building?

Okay, as the doors blew open from the pressure inside there was a momentary flash of fire on the floor and

went up the side of the door. We knocked that out and went in with one of the lines. Then, we were using two inchand-

a-half lines at this point to give us roughly four minutes of fire fighting time. The water ran out, we backed out

and jacked a three-inch line down to the hydrant in front of the hotel on Flamingo and from then on Captain Smith

and firefighters Toby Lamuraglia and Ted, oh I can’t remember his name now, okay, anyway, they came back in

and I headed upstairs with Captain Ashley for the fire, you know, portion of the rescue. And that’s as much as I

seen. The rest was all smoke in the hallways upstairs.

QUESTION: Okay - yeah - let’s go back to the smoke that you observed in the casino after you’d made your initial

entry and the wall of smoke and flame that you had made reference to. The color involved was what, grey,

black, brown?

Okay - the stratified layer that was 6 to 8 feet from the ceiling just hanging there, there was no movement then,

like it had been there...

QUESTION: How far out through the casino did that reach?

Ah, roughly one quarter of the distance of the whole floor from that area to...

QUESTION: From the east end where the Deli is?

Right. About a quarter of the distance. Then the rest of the ah, it came to a point, you know it was flat,

stratified on the bottom and it beveled back up to the ceiling, back into that area. Then we saw the smoke cloud, or

the fire cloud, whatever, it was dense black smoke and you could see little fringes of flame breaking out as the cloud

came out.

QUESTION: Right. Ah, did you and your crew have air packs on at this time?

Right. When we went in the first time we had our air packs on, forcible entry tools and the high rise pack, 150

ft. of inch-and-a-half hose which we layed down when we got back out and took our cross lays off.

QUESTION: Okay, ah, is there anything else that you can remember about the situation? How the fireprogressed

through the casino ah, people, the direction they were running, ah, how much panic was involved?

There were I would say ten to fifteen, maybe 20 people at the most, on the casino floor gaming and, ah, I saw

three or four people coming out of the delicatessen area and they started running across this ramp that come over to

these doors in front of us here and the people as the cloud progressed through the casino floor, as much as I saw of

it, then they started scattering to the sides of the casino area to get up here and get on, you know, get to an exit. I

didn’t see anything from the point where we turned around and headed this way. When we got to the doors, you

know, it felt like the fire had pushed us outside, the smoke had dropped so fast, you know.

QUESTION: You say the smoke had dropped, what, approximately...

About say three to four feet from the floor at this point where the swinging doors are.

QUESTION: How dense was the smoke at that time?


QUESTION: Inasmuch as your visibility?

It was dense enough and hot enough to blister my plastic dome on my helmet, you know, I had to replace it.

QUESTION: That occurred on your way out.

Right. As I hit this door here I noticed it, I heard it snap and the one condenser that was in it - as I went over

here when I started bringing my line into these doors that were thrown open I put my face shield down and I

thought, well, you know, what’s wrong with it, you know, I tried to wipe it off and then I didn’t pay any attention

to it. I just noticed that I couldn’t see anything so I flipped it back up, you know, a little bit so I’d have some

visibility. But the heat got it right here. I was standing up and, you know, it blistered my...

QUESTION: Alright, in reference to the heat blistering your face shield, ah, to give us a little better idea - how

tall are you Bert?

Six foot, six.

QUESTION: Is there anything more you can add?

No, I don’t think so, that’s pretty much it.

Okay, this is going to be Investigator Burns again. We’re going to be ending this taped conversation with


Report of interview with Kurt Schlueter, 4543 Grand Ave., Western Springs, Illinois, 312-246-0653, by John F. Rice,

on November 22, 1980, at the MGM Hotel.

Mr. Schlueter is a Firefighter from Western Springs, Illinois, who was visiting the MGM Grand Hotel on

November 21, 1980. He stated as follows:

He and two of his friends entered the Coffee Shop in the MGM at 7: 15 a.m. November 21, 1980. (He remembers

the exact time, because a girl in front of him asked the waitress what time it was.) He and his companions David

Beshoar and Perry Beshoar were seated along the wall that separates the Coffee Shop from the Deli. Mr. Schlueter

said that they had just been served coffee when a security guard came in and told them that there was a fire in the Deli

and asked them to leave. Mr. Schlueter had not smelled any smoke up to this time.

He and his companions left the Coffee Shop and as they exited Mr. Schlueter looked to his left and saw smoke

and flames coming from the Deli. Mr. Schlueter said that the smoke was coming from the Deli. Mr. Schlueter said that

the smoke was about head level at this time. He began assisting in moving people out toward the Flamingo Street exit.

About a minute later the smoke was down to waist level. He and his friends opened the emergency doors on the Flamingo

Street side and were assisting people out the doors. While standing at the emergency exit, Mr. Schlueter looked

back and observed flames rolling out of the Deli. He estimates the total elapsed time at three minutes. He could see the

Casino filling with smoke. It all appeared to be coming from the Deli. There was not noticable flame in the Casino

itself at this time.

Suddenly, he stated, there was a large rolling mass of smoke forced him and his friends to abandon the doorway

and he couldn’t see anything more. He proceeded down the outside stairs and stood across the street on the North Side

of Flamingo. About five minutes later he saw flames and smoke shoot out of the front of the hotel.

Mr. Schlueter who is a firefighter, believes that it was a back draft that occurred when the side and front doors

were opened that produced the rolling mass of smoke that drove him from the doorway.


Report of interview with Alfred Natle on November 21, 1980 at 7:15 p.m. via telephone from 702-385-6584, (Bureau

of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms Office, Room 312 Federal Building, Las Vegas, Nevada,) to 702-457-0149,

(Residence of Alfred Natle), by Special Agent Richard W. Haynes, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms.

Mr. Natle stated that he was employed by the MGM Hotel/Casino as a Dealer and that on November 21, 1980, at

approximately 7:00 a.m. he was “sitting in on” one of the craps games being conducted in the MGM Casino. At this

time Natle and the other people at the craps game became aware that the Casino was on fire. One of the craps dealers

at the table, known to Natle only as Buster and described by Natle as being a white male, about 6 foot tall, weighing

about 195 lbs., and being clean shaven was overheard by Natle to say something to the effect “Wow! That fire’s been

going twenty four hours.” Buster subsequently elaborated stating that he (Buster), had seen smoke and thought he

had heard sprinklers on within the wall areas at about 6:30 a.m. to 7:OO a.m. on November 20, 1980. Natle further

stated that Buster works the graveyard shift and could possibly be further identified by either Ron Tripp (Pit Boss),

Mark LoBello (Boxman), or Bob Hendricks (Dealer), all MGM Employees working the graveyard shift.

Natle stated that he believed he smelled smoke about an hour before the fire evidenced itself on November 21,



My employee number is 20336 and I work in the Coffee Shop. At the time of the fire I was in the Deli taking jack

stands. I noticed the Keno board sparking. I left the Deli, went to the kitchen, told Kenny about the fire, went to tell

my boss, who was sitting at the counter at this time. We tried to get people out at this time because it was just starting

more than...so we all exited.

Report of interview with Velma Turner on November 21, 1980 at approximately 5:30 p.m. via telephone from

702-385-6.584, (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms Office, Room 312 Federal Building, Las Vegas, Nevada), by

Special Agent Richard W. Haynes, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms.

Ms. Turner stated that on November 21, 1980, at approximately 7:OO a.m. she was working in the Coffee Shop of

the MGM Hotel where she is employed. At this time she noticed blue sparks coming out of the Keno Board followed

shortly by black smoke. Mr. Turner stated she noticed no flames nor any distinguishable odor. Mr. Turner alarmed

Kenny, the Assistant Chef in the Coffee Shop, who brought a fire extinguisher to the Keno Board area. However, the

fire extinguisher was not used and Kenny and herself joined in the evacuation of the coffee shop. Mr. Turner stated

that others in the Coffee Shop area included Eva Gibsen, a cook named Tyree, another employee named Elvis and two

dishwashers named Tony and Charles.

S/Richard W. Haynes, Special Agent, ATF



I, Jerry L. Theo am 41 years of age and my address if 3710 Pama Lane, Las Vegas. Home Phone: 451-4779.

I am the Assistant Chief Operator at the MGM Hotel/Casino and was on duty at 0715 hours, November 21, 1890.

I was in my private office in the PBX Room when Betty came in with some papers and stated “People are running in

the casino!” I then walked out to the board area and asked Betty why people were running in the casino and she

stated, “There is a fire in the Deli”. I asked her did she call the Fire Department and she stated “Yes”. I then looked

at the board, and noticed it seemed very busy. I was deciding what to do, I mean, should I assist the girls on the board,

and Betty stated “They want us to evacuate the casino” I told her to do it. I then heard an unknown operator state

“Don’t panic, don’t use the elevators.” I thought to myself, why are they saying that if the fire is in the Deli?

I opened the outside door to the security guard to find out what was going on and saw the black smoke in the

hallway. The lights were still on. The security guard was not there, so I told the girls to leave immediately. I walked

back in to the PBX Room thinking I could instruct the guests, but I had no instructions or directives, and I began to

leave. I was opening the door to leave when a security guard advised me to leave the area. The phone man, Fred Cook,

left behind me. I left the MGM via the underground parking area.

WITNESS: S/Lorne L. Lomprey



I, Patty Jo Allsbrook, am 35 years of age and my address is 4122 Victoria Street. Home Phone: 451-7068.

I was employed at the MGM Hotel on November 21, 1980 at 0715 hours in the capacity of a PBX Operator. My

work station is right next to the supervisor’s Betty. She received a phone call on a house line from Pierre (a hotel chef)

and she in turn called the Fire Department on a direct line stating “This is the MGM, we have a fire in the Deli.” I

thought this was a normal routine call until we received numerous calls about a fire. I advised people not to use the

elevators (approximately 15) and became very concerned when I heard a herd of elephants, well actually, what sounded

like a herd of elephants on the casino floor above our office. Jerry opened the door to see what was going on, saw

the smoke and she stated “everyone leave”. We left via the underground parking. 1 thought all of this unreal as the

alarm panel (fire alarm system) was not buzzing or sounding. I did not see the lights from where I was at. Betty announced

on the board to evacuate the casino through the building’s intercom.

I recall not receiving any information from security or anyone advising us of our status or informing us what to

do. No one knew. When Jerry saw all that smoke and said for us to leave, we did, and it seemed less than seven or

eight minutes from Betty’s original call until we were out of the garage.

WITNESS: S/Lorne L. Lomprey


- I, Patricia Jean Frymire am 44 years of age and my address is 8355 Ranch0 Destino. Home Phone: 361-5857.

I was on duty as a PBX Operator on November 21, 1980 at the MGM Hotel/Casino. At approximately 0715 an

unknown security guard telephoned by house line my supervisor (Betty Gillihan) and advised her there was a fire in the

Deli. Betty phoned the Fire Department on the direct line. I thought this to be a routine call as we’ve received

numerous calls for either paramedics or fires over the past seven (7) years. I thought no more about it until I heard

what sounded like a herd of horses in the casino above our office. A few more minutes had passed when a security

guard entered our office and stated, “Get out, now!” I then saw the smoke entering the air duct and hallway outside

and left the office via the underground parking.


WITNESS: S/Lorne L. Lomprey



I, Irene (NMN) Rowe am 39 years of age and my address is 4524 E. Flamingo Road. Home Phone: 458-1258.

I was employed at the MGM Hotel on November 21, 1980 at 0715 hours in the capacity of a PBX Operator. I was

working the CRT (locating file) and I was supposed to go on break at 0715. I heard the hot line (security house phone)

ring and Betty answered. She then called on the Fire Department direct line and stated “This is the MGM, there is a

fire in the Deli.” I thought this to be another routine call and went into our lounge for my break. I then heard a lot of

noise, like heavy furniture being moved upstairs in the casino. Someone yelled at me and told me the hotel is on fire.

As I started to leave I noticed smoke coming from the fire alarm panel and also from the vent. I was about the last person

out and saw lots of black smoke. I then left via the underground parking lot. I met my friend on the way out and

ran with him. We could not even see the elevator doors in the hallway.

I recall around 6:30 a.m., I asked Betty if I could go upstairs and get some donuts from the bake shop. I tried to

use the elevators on the left side and they would not light up. They weren’t working. I didn’t smell smoke. I used the

elevators on the right and went to the casino level, obtained the donuts and pastry and returned on the same elevator.

The time was now about 640 a.m. I then returned to my position at the CRT machine.

WITNESS: S/Lorne L. Lomprey

S/Irene Rowe


LOCATION OF OCCURRENCE: MGM Grand Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada

I, Elizabeth Gillihan am 43 years of age and my address is 2221 Camel Street, Las Vegas, Nevada 89110. Home

Phone: 452-1575

I was the PBX Operator on duty at the MGM on November 21, 1980. At 7:15 a.m. Sgt. Williams called me and

told me there was a fire in the Deli kitchen. I called the Fire Department. A few minutes later Sgt. Williams called back

and said, “Is the Fire Department on the way?” I heard running upstairs, it sounded like a herd of elephants. I walked

down to Jerry Theo’s office, she is the A.C.O. who came in about 7:00 a.m. I told her there was a fire in the Deli kitchen

but listen to the running. She came out. About that time the switchboard lit up. When the board lights up it

usually means that the guests are aware of something wrong. About the second call I picked up, I was sure, was Pierre

Vireday, the executive chief. He said, “We have a problem in the Coffee Shop kitchen, is the Fire Department on the

way?” I told him, “Yes.”

I still wasn’t too alarmed as the Deli and Coffee Shop kitchens are combined. A few calls later, someone called

and said, “Evacuate the casino immediately over the PA system.” I did that twice. I said, “May I have your attention

please, evacuate the casino immediately and carefully, thank you,“. I told Jerry we needed help on the board. She

said, “I’m going to talk to the security guard to see what’s going on.” She opened the door and said, “Let’s go now,”

or something like that. I went down the stairs behind her and looked out. I went back up the stairs and fell on my pen

to yell for Netta, because she couldn’t hear Jerry from the message desk. I grabbed my purse and coat from the chair,

but as I looked to see if Netta was coming, I saw smoke that looked as if it was coming from the fire panel on the

southwest wall in PBX. I came down the steps - I don’t remember going up the ramp or through the underground

parking. Halfway I saw a security guard and said, “Which way?” He said, “Straight on.” We took off running - the

fire alarm panel did at no time go off.


On November 27, 1980, an article appeared in the Review Journal (see attached) through the Associated Press. I was

able to locate and interview by telephone MR. MARION VAUGHN.

Mr. Vaughn says: that on November 21, 1980, he intended to check into the MGM, no rooms were available, so

he stayed and gambled in the casino from approximately midnight to approximately 5:30 a.m. At approximately 6:00

a.m. he was tired and hungry and decided to have breakfast in the coffee shop of the MGM and ordered coffee. He

says he waited for awhile, he was getting poor service; and decided to leave. At approximately 6:30 a.m. he paid his

bill and walked out of the coffee shop. He says he noticed smoke to his immediate left, after walking out of the coffee

shop. He reported this to a security guard (he believed him to be a policeman). Vaughn says he couldn’t smell smoke,

because he had a cold at the time. Vaughn claims the guard was inattentive to him and unconcerning.

Vaughn says he decided to get the hell out of there. He warned some people to leave, claims he got a cab from the

front of the MGM and left. They travelled approximately four blocks when he heard the sirens and returned to the

MGM and saw it in flames.


On January 2, 1981, I brought to the District Attorney’s Office, Jason A. Rohde, a juvenile employed as a bus

person in the Orleans Coffee Shop at the MGM, working the night of the fire, November 21, 1980

Jason Rohde was interviewed by Deputy District Attorney John Wawerna, and myself, David Belz. Rohde was

able to provide a detailed drawing of the Orleans Coffee Shop, and the busing station, within the deli, where the fire


Rohde says when he came to work the evening of November 20, 1980, at 11%) p.m., he smell a peculiar odor

believing it to be burned coffee pot, in the area of bus station #3, he checked this area and did not find anything

unusual. Later that morning, after returning from his break, he smelled it again, and could not find a source. After

punching out at 7:00 a.m., November 21, 1980, he returned to the coffee shop to pick up his hair brush, he had left in

the bus station #3, he smelled this odor again, thought nothing of it and left for school.

Rohde did not report this odor, nor did he discuss it with any other workers.

This was the only contact he has had with anyone concerning the fire investigation.

Rohde went on to say that: Approximately six (6) weeks before the fire on November 21, 1980, the maintenance

men removed coffee pot warmer from the Busing station #2 located in the Orleans Coffee Shop. This area was

smoldering for some time and he remembers seeing them poke out glowing ash and blackened material from the

underside of the counter. This incident occurred on his shift, between 11:OO p.m. and 7:00 a.m.


My name is EMMETT BARNES and I live at 6891 Laronda Lane, Las Vegas, Nevada. My home phone is

452-l 369. I have been employed at the MGM for seven (7) years as a Maintenance Engineer. I work the graveyard shift

for the last three (3) years from midnight to 8:OO a.m., with Saturday and Sunday off. PETE DOBBS was my supervisor.

My basic duties at the MGM were preventative maintenance, general maintenance and I worked on the gas


I worked on the air flow ovens, lights, pie case. I fixed leaks in the ceilings. Since I can remember the work that I

have done in the Deli area was PM on gas equipment, the air flow ovens. I worked on the pie case, lights, fixed a leak

in the ceiling caused by evaporation. In the Orleans Room, I fixed leaks in the bus station area and also preventative

maintenance. I was working the day of the fire, but I went home sick about 6:15 a.m. I had been in the Deli area between

midnight and 1:OO a.m. I am not sure of the time, but you can check the work order to see what time it was. I am

not sure there was a work order. I repaired the coffee urn in the Deli. I also fixed the thermostat in the room service

kitchen. About 6:00 or 6:15 a.m., I went to my boss, PETE, and told him I was sick and that I was going home. I had

no knowledge that there was a fire. I could not smell anything or I could not see anything. I didn’t see how there could

have been a fire. Since the fire, I have talked to three or four insurance company people and two other people that I

guess were MGM people. I think one was an attorney represented someone and one was an insurance company.

I don’t think I am too familiar with the alarm system, but I thought that it would go off in PBX and security. To

my knowledge, I don’t think the alarm can be automatically reset. Someone from the MGM showed me about the fire

system and escape routes and what to do in case of an emergency. I am not sure if there is a written procedure. We

have a meeting once a month to discuss problems. I have made a total of three (3) separate statements and the questions

are all about the same, about the fire. There is a prankster that has been pulling little pranks for a year or so.

Whoever he is, I think he might be a kitchen helper. He has been urinating in the back employee elevator. The urn that

I fixed in the Deli the night of the fire had been plugged up by someone putting bread in the coffee urn. I have no idea

who did this. In reference to the fire alarm, to my knowledge they must be mechanically reset. The tone would stop,

but not the light. I did receive a questionnaire in the mail in reference to the MGM fire, but I don’t remember who it

was from. I think from some attorneys.

Two days after the fire I worked in the boiler room guarding it. I have been unemployed since.



My name is VERNON FRANKLIN SUMMERFIELD. I live at 1725 Ivanhoe Way, Las Vegas, Nevada, and my

phone is 3850940. I am currently employed at the MAXIM HOTEL as a Maintenance Engineer. I have Mondays and

Tuesdays off and possibly I will be going to day shift next week.

I was employed at the MGM on January 15, 1978 as a Maintenance Engineer on Graveyard. I am off on Fridays

and Saturdays and was off the night of the fire. My primary duties were the kitchen and stove repair. I worked 3 nights

in the kitchen and usually 2 nights as relief senior - watch engineer.

We did jobs other than PM’s by work orders. A work order would go to MAINT’ENANCE CONTROL and then

to the watch engineer - the watch engineer would then assign the work order to one of the working engineers. Each

work order is numbered and after it is filled out by the engineer handling the job it is turned back in to the watch

engineer. The number from the work order is then put on the time card and corresponds to the number on the time

card. Maintenance Control does this. As far as I know, we keep all of these work orders for reference or call backs on

a job.

The only things I have ever done that I can remember in the Deli was maybe clean out a drain or maybe clean a

drain in the Orleans room. I don’t remember ever working on the pie case or even hearing about anything happening

to the pie case. I don’t remember ever hearing about anything to do with the coffee warmers at all. There was very

seldom any calls to Station 2 - in the Orleans room.

I have not been contacted by anyone in reference to the MGM fire. This is my first statement to anyone. I am really

not familiar with the pie case area in the Deli - I heard something about it on the news, but that’s all I know.

The Fire Department came one time and gave us training in reference to fires, but it was mostly for Security.

There was no manual that I know of.

There was a prankster who we think was urinating in the elevator. I don’t know much about it but could smell it. I

have no idea who it was.

I am very surprised about the fire still. I felt it was well-maintained. Anything we ordered for maintenance was

always given to us - expensive or not. I find the fire hard to believe as far as the building goes as I feel it was extremely

well maintained. I can’t believe something like this happened.


My name is BURTON FLEISCHMAN and I live at 5053 Ridge Drive Space #159, Las Vegas, Nevada, 89103,

phone 87 1- 1177. I am currently employed at the Barbary Coast as a Maintenance Engineer and have been so employed

for about 6 weeks.

I went to work for the MGM on October 4, 1979 on the graveyard shift - 12:00 Midnight to 8:00 a.m. with

Tuesdays and Wednesdays off. I was employed as a Maintenance Engineer. I was working the night of the fire.

The day of the fire, I had just left the boiler room and I was walking down the lower arcade to the Casino. I was

going to take air temperature readings in the Executive Offices. I got to the dress shop - Marshall Russo dress shop

-and suddenly I heard water dripping from the ceiling right above me and the ceiling fell on me. I was knocked down

and I was dazed and there was smoke. I heard screaming and there was confusion and I couldn’t believe the black

smoke. I knew I couldn’t go forward so I got down on the floor and got close to the wall and crawled on my hands and

knees back towards the direction I had just come from. I got on the radio and called Maintenance Control. I said get

the Fire Department or there is a fire, get the Fire Department. I then called my boss, Pete Dobbs and he told me to

check the sprinklers to make sure they were working. I smelled a strong smell - so strong it felt like it was burning my

lungs - it was like a plastic smell - maybe rubber or plastic or maybe insulation - but it didn’t smell like wood. The

lights were still on. I found my way to the Boiler Room as that had been my assigned responsibility that night. I could

hear the water running.

My basic duties at the MGM were to do general maintenance but primarily to make readings - hot water heaters

-for the right pressure. I had just taken the readings that night. The sprinkler pumps were running when I returned to

the Boiler room after the fire started. I never did see fire, but smelled smoke and saw it. This was between 0708 and

0710 when the ceiling fell on me so I returned to the boiler room about 10 minutes later or maybe less. The readings I

had taken earlier were documented. My general duties that night had been to take air readings and boiler readings. Air

readings were normal. Air handle readings were done between 0300 and 0400. They are throughout the entire building

-the 26th floor, production, celebrity, convention and the Jai Lai. The air holders, suck in air into the building and

mixes with air in the building and blows it back out - a big mixing chamber. Everything had been normal that night. I

was not in the Orleans or Deli that night - that I can remember. The only things I can ever remember doing in the

Orleans room or Deli, ever, were to maybe change bulbs or unplug a sink or something. I don’t remember any incident

or anything happening in the pie case or near or by the coffee warmers in those rooms. If it did, I am unaware of it.

There was a prankster at the MGM - he/she was urinating the rear elevators. I don’t know of many more pranks,

except one night 1 was in the convention air handle, which is in the center of the hotel and I went in and closed the door

and someone put a broom between the handles so I couldn’t get out. I tried to knock it down a couple of times and

finally did. I heard someone running down the stairs and I chased him and he ran out of the building towards the street

and I didn’t see who it was or where he went. I have no idea who it was.

After I returned to the boiler room, after the fire had started 1 stayed there to make sure the sprinkler pumps were

running. There was no smoke in the boiler room. Later, I came up in the alley and met with Dobbs. He told me to go

back down and make sure everything continued to run okay. So that is what I did until my relief showed up at 8:00


I have given two oral statements to MGM people. 1 did receive a questionnaire recently and I think it was from the

MGM - it was on MGM stationary, but I will call and let you know who it is supposed to be mailed back to.

One more thing, when I called Dobbs to tell him about the fire he then called all the engineers and told them to

meet him in the alley. This was right after the fire started - at least right after 1 became aware that there was a fire.

. Maintenance is on the extreme north west corner of the hotel and the boiler room is on the South East side - I was

a long ways away from Maintenance so I didn’t return there. In my opinion, the MGM is extremely safety and preventive

maintenance conscious. Anytime anything went wrong - even a small thing - they replaced it. I worked as an

engineer in New York prior to coming to Las Vegas, and in my opinion and from what I have heard from other

engineers at other hotels here in Las Vegas, the MGM had the best PM program of any place. They have weekly, biweekly

and monthly PM programs. We had safety meetings once a month - I think with OSHA. They are extremely

safety conscious. We never really were instructed about fire as Security was in charge - we would assist if they asked us

or told us to, tho. I would say 90% of our job was PM. After I was off duty, I was asked about keys to the gate on the

26th floor - I was flown up there by helicopter and unlocked the gate - I only went about 100 feet in - I never did get

past the transformer room - I was getting kind of sick and asked if I could go back down because I didn’t have any air


I am not sure about the alarm systems - I think the alarms are either in Maintenance Control or Security - I know

there are some kind of alarms in Maintenance Control but I am not sure if they are fire alarms.


My name is GORDON RAY CAREY and I live at 4378 Roanridge, Las Vegas, Nevada, 89102, telephone


Previously to the fire, I worked for six (6) weeks as a Maintenance Engineer. My shift was Midnight to 8:00 a.m.,

with my days off being Wednesday and Thursday and PETE DOBBS is my supervisor.

I worked in the Orleans Coffee Shop on one occasion, and I repaired a table. I put a clip under a metal shelf and

maybe changed bulbs. I don’t recall doing any work or service to bus station 2 in the Orleans Coffee Shop. ED

GROVES, the refrigeration man, showed me around the Deli. I never do any repairs in the Deli at all and I have no

knowledge of anyone working there.

Myself and another engineer were in the “Dog House”. An area above the kitchen, around 5:00 a.m., the morning

of the fire and we didn’t smell anything. Nothing unusual other than kitchen smells. The “Dog House” is an area

where there are about 20 exhaust fans and filters where the exhaust from the kitchen comes out. This was our normal

once-a-month PM (Preventative Maintenance).

I have only been questioned once by two or three lawyers who spoke with me concerning where we were and what

we did during the fire.

We were sent a questionnaire one (1) week ago. I believe it had six (6) questions. I don’t specifically remember all

the questions, except the last one: Do 1 know of anyone who could give information for cause and spread of fire? and

one more question: What was your location one (1) hour before the fire. I believe one other one was: How were you

notified of the fire?

I put it in the self-addressed envelope and sent it back. It came in MGM stationary and went back to a law firm in

Las Vegas.


- My name is JIMMIE RAY VANCE and I live at 389 Summer Creek Ct., Henderson, Nevada, telephone


I have worked for the MGM since January 16, 1980, and was employed as a Maintenance Engineer. My shift was

12%) midnight to 8:00 a.m. with Thursday and Friday off. I was off the day of the fire. My supervisor was PETE

DOBBS or VERN SUMMERFIELD, depending on what days off.

Sometime during the month of September, 1890, while I was working, I was notified by either phone or radio by

Maintenance Control, to check out a burning smell in the Orleans Coffee Shop. I went up there and there was no

doubt what it was. The coffee warmer at the waitress station on North side of Hall of Fame side in Orleans Coffee

Shop. I moved the hot plate out from underneath the counter and put it on top. I noticed the underside had been

scorched and blackened. It had not been burning. I made out a work order and turned it in to Maintenance Control

and it is reviewed by the Chief or Assistant Chief Engineer.

I cleaned the coils on the compressor in the Deli and unblocked the glass filler drain and don’t remember doing

any other repair work.

In case of fire, Maintenance Engineers were instructed to go to the kitchen area and check the automatic gas shut

off valves and then to stand by and assist security.

I am not aware of any written procedures.

- I am not that familiar with the fire alarms in the Security Office. I believe the pull box would be reset. I don’t

know if PBX were able to reset alarms.

I have no idea if Security is able to reset alarms in the Security Office.

No one has questioned me or interviewed me concerning the fire.


My name is JAMES A. CORBETT, JR., and I live at 3029 Magnet Street, North Las Vegas, Nevada.

I have been employed at the MGM for six (6) years as a Security Officer and the last year as a Maintenance


My usual shift is midnight to 8:OO a.m., with Sundays and Mondays off.

The Chief Engineer is in charge of all work orders and his name is BILL PADOVESE. He works a day shift.

PETE DOBBS is the senior watch engineer for the Graveyard shift.

Maintenance Control would write a work order, written by Hank (I don’t know the last name) or JERRY

JOHNSON and sent to the Watch Engineer. He then assigns one of the engineers to the job. Wherein perhaps if a

small fire were to break out, usually the watch engineer would respond or would send another engineer. Because of the

seriousness of a small fire the watch engineer probably would respond even if another engineer did.

I have been shown a floor plan drawing by SGT. BELZ and I am familiar with the Orleans Coffee Shop and the

Deli area.

I only remember repairing the glass fill sink in the Orleans Coffee Shop and replaced a few lights, no other repair

work was done.

During September or October, I worked in the Deli, particularly the pie case. It was unplugged. I plugged it back

in and watched it for about 40 minutes and it was OK.

I don’t recall repairing any coffee pot warmers in either the Orleans or the Deli.

There are three (3) electrical workers who usually repair electrical items and they work days.

Other people have talked to me, three (3) or four (4) and I don’t know if they were MGM employees or on a retainer.


My name is WILLIAM E. GROVES - I go by ED GROVES. I live at 345 Wigwam, Las Vegas, Nevada, and my

phone number is 361-6750. I was employed by the MGM on January 9 - 7 years ago, right after it opened. I worked

graveyard and I worked days for awhile but for the last 6 or more months I worked graveyard midnight to 8:OO a.m.

Mr. Pete Dobbs was my supervisor. My main function was refrigeration.

I checked refrigeration units every night - walk-ins, reach-ins and ice machines. I also would take work orders

when we got them and took room calls for refrigeration problems. Day shift also took work orders and room calls.

Once a week I changed filters on all the units - usually on a Thursday because I was off on Fridays and Saturdays.

PM was weekly but if something were to go wrong I would just get a work order and fix it. The only work I ever

did in the Deli was PM on the pie cases - once a week I would change filters and clean it. The pie case you have been

asking about to my knowledge never had anything go wrong with it - it was installed when the MGM opened and was

the same machine. The shift before the fire, I had replaced the filters on the machine. Everything was fine. I think if

there ever had been a problem with it, day shift refrigeration would have told me.

The pies and baked goods would be taken out of the pie case when the room closed - usually between 12:00 midnight

and 2:00 a.m. - they alternated closing the Deli and the Orleans room early. I can’t remember if the Deli closed

early or late my last shift. Then about 7:00 a.m. or so, someone would re-fill the pie cases. I think it was a young kid

who worked out of the bake shop. The bake shop was open 24 hours a day. I don’t know who he was.

The only one I have talked to about the fire, was a guy - I think an Insurance man - from LA called me - he asked

me about the pie case, but I told him the same thing I am telling you. I think it was impossible for the pie case to have

started that fire. I heard they have tested it since the fire and can’t get it to do anything wrong or unusual...1 can’t

believe that little compressor did that.

I had just cleaned the pie case - I shimmied it out from the wall and cleaned under it. To my knowledge there is no

plug in - nothing ever happened to the machine so I never did find out where it was actually plugged in but I heard it

was in the kitchen. One ice machine in the Orleans room used to blow a breaker now and then and I knew where that

one was, but not the one in the Deli. I never saw a plug as far as the area where I could see. I don’t mean the pie case

was plugged in - I mean where it was connected to or wired to.


On this date February 2, 1981 I spoke with MEL ROBINS of ALARMCO SECURITY, Vice-President. MR.

ROBINS told me that he was contacted by the MGM in the fall of 1978 and that the Fire Department had requested

the MGM be connected with a Central Alarm System. This system would be manually activated on floors 5 through

26. There were no alarms to his knowledge on the first level, second level or space occupying the building up to and ineluding

the 4th level. The system had five tones - the first minute delivering a certain pitch, the second minute delivering

a different pitch and so on up to 5 minutes. After 5 minutes the ALARMCO office would then notify the Fire

Department by form of a hot line. The morning of the fire, there were numerous fire calls from the MGM in the form

of the system described above. He does not recollect the time of the first call but would be able to tell us exactly how

many alarms went off and at what times should we desire to have this information. A representative from our office

would have to go to ALARMCO and identify ourselves to get this information.

He stated that the Alarm system mentioned above is independant of the MGM itself. The unit has battery systems

that are even water proof. The only other hotel that he knows of that is directed to ALARMCO is the CAESARS

PALACE and that is only water flow which is their sprinkler system.

He stated that he thought it was odd that the Fire Department would request this only of the MGM. He stated he

asked EGENWEILER what he did to ‘tick off’ the Fire Department as to why just the MGM had to comply with this

Central Alarm System. He stated that the only person who has talked to him about the alarm system was an individual

from the MGM who was conducting a fire investigation. He does not remember his name.


My name is JOHN R. EGGENWEILER, Chief of Security for the MGM GRAND HOTEL. I was not at the

MGM the morning the fire broke out but arrived at approximately 0730, after I had learned of the fire.

The guest room floors are floors 5 through 26. The space or area that would make up floors 1 through and including

4 is that space consisting of the casino, second level and attics and storage making up the rest of the space up

to the 5th floor. There are 6 pull type alarms on each floor of the Hotel, floors 5 through 26. Each of these must be

manually activated. There were no alarms on the first level through and including the space of the 4th floor. Sometime

in the fall of 1978, BARRETT of the Clark County Fire Department requested that the MGM install a Central Alarm

System. BARRETT then approved the new Alarm System for the MGM which consisted of a 5 minute time delay in

the system itself. After the alarm was pulled, an alarm light would go off in the main Security Office. The light indicated

the pull station that the alarm was coming from. The alarm also went off audibly - in Security and PBX. After

the 5 minute time delay, the alarm would then go off at ALARMCO and ALARMCO would


then notify the Fire

The Security Office is manned 24 hours a day. The morning of the fire, SECURITY

GUALTERI, not sure of spelling, was on duty in the Security Office from 0100 to 0900.


Once a month, security at the MGM met, security supervisors - periodically updated their evacuation plan.

I have not been interviewed by anyone other than Investigator Grismanauskas at this time.

The MGM did not have the type of elevators that would automatically shut down and go to the first floor when a

fire alarm sounded.

The Fire Department conducted inspections of the MGM from time to time. I was only aware of possible violations

when I would receive a copy of the Inspection Report from the Fire Department via MR. ROSS when it pertained

to possibly a fire extinguisher that needed to be replaced or matters directly related to the Security Office. To my

knowledge, MR. ROSS received the Inspection Reports from the Fire Department and responded accordingly. As I

would receive my copy of the inspection I would take the appropriate action to correct it.


On this date February 3, 1981, I spoke with CARMEN GUALTIERI, Security Clerk for the MGM. He was on

duty the morning of the fire, working the 0100 to 0900 shift. CARMEN related to me the following:

He was on duty in the Security Office and at approximately 0710 - he is not sure of the exact time - Lt. Rice received

a call on his radio that there was a bad fire in the deli. Lt. Rice left the Security Office. Carmen then proceeded to

Xerox some copies of reports. He did not see nor hear nor smell anything unusual prior to this time during his whole

shift. He began to hear some ‘garbled’ messages on the radios - “What’s wrong?“, “What?“, etc. about 2 or 3

minutes later he opened the door of the security office and saw dark smoke. There were no alarms sounded. He saw no

visual alarm lights in the Security Office. He then proceeded to assist people out of the MGM. He said people were

running everywhere. While still in the Security Office, prior to exiting, he said there were NO phone calls and he had

been watching the TV monitors - he saw nothing unusual. After exiting the MGM and after assisting people he ran

over to the Barbary Coast and called his Chief. He was unable to reach him. He then called his assistance chief, CHET

WHIDDON and adivsed him of the fire. He then stated he went up to a firefighter, he thought maybe was a Captain,

and told him that he CARMEN had the key to the box in the Security Office that contained all of the keys for the

stairwells, rooms, etc. The firemen later came back to him and said they could not get to the Security Office to obtain

the keys. He could add nothing else to the above facts other than other incidents of helping people out of the MGM

and helping once he was outside.


I, Thomas Donald, Jr., SS# 530-74-6710 of 4317 Tara #1, occupation, unemployed, (telephone no. 871-4533) do

hereby make the following true statement to Becky Grismanauskas and Ray Lyons of the Clark County District Attorney’s

Office, Investigations Division, of my own free will. There have been no threats, or promises of immunity or

reward made to me in order to induce me to make this statement. It is further understood that this statement may be

used either wholly or in part as evidence in a Court of Law. I can read and write the English language:

I was working at the MGM the morning of the fire. I came on at 7:00 a.m. I was employed as a bakers helper for

about 10 months.

About 7:lO in the morning I had went into the Orleans room and pulled out the pies in the pie case and I had

started around the corner going to the Deli Coffee Shop. I just started going in. The doors were open. I was just at the

doors when about four security guards ran by me then I looked and saw some smoke and fire coming out of a side

stand right behind the pie cases. The fire was thick like the whole side stand had been on fire. The entrance into the

side stand the doorway, the flames were from the bottom of the floor to the top of the ceiling. The flames were starting

to like roll across the roof not very fast, but the smoke was moving very fast. The security guards were running

around looking for fire extinguishers. They couldn’t find any. By that time the smoke had almost filled the whole Deli

Coffee Shop up, then I left.

1 did not see a Keno Board on fire. 1 heard other people say that but I don’t remember seeing a Keno Board near


The only persons that have talked to me about the fire are the two people from the D.A.‘s Office. I filled out a

questionnaire from the MGM and mailed it back, but that is all.

S/Thomas Donald

WITNESS: S/Becky Grismanauskas


Mr. Jaikowick states he was interviewed by MGM attorneys only.

He states that at approximately 7:15 a.m., he was in the East end of the casino by the elevators, working slot

drops near pit 7 & 8, close to the Parisian Bar. He noticed a haze in this area and noticed people running and saw a ball

of flame over the escalators. He saw smoke coming and told people he was working with to get out of there. He told

the bartender to leave and assisted three (3) cocktail waitresses and other people out.


Mr. Whitby has been employed by the MGM as a security officer for over two (2) years. He has been interviewed

by MGM attorneys only. No other individuals or investigators.

- Mr. Whitby said he was assigned in the casino and at approximately 6:45 a.m., he was at the booth next to the gift

stand. About 7:15 a.m., Officer Horton was there and said he was going to the Flamingo Exit. Mr. Whitby indicated

he was going back to the security office and he then noticed the smoke from the Deli. He walked toward it and heavy

black smoke was coming out of the Deli area.

He stated he observed Huggins & Pickett at this time. They were crouched at the door of the Deli and smoke was

rolling over them. He said he told them to get the hell out of there, they were crouched down getting out of there. He

further indicated he was about 10 feet from them at the time and people were coming out of the Orleans. He said he

checked by the entrance and a woman came out and he asked her how many were in there and she said she was the last

one. He looked in the casino and smoke was filling it up. People were leaving toward the front, some walking and running.

Then a huge ball of fire came out of the Deli, followed by black smoke. He said it covered him and he started

toward the Flamingo Exit. Mr. Whitby then stated he could not see because of the haze created by the fire ball. He got

to the exit and out the door. He stated that the Paramedics had to give him oxygen.


Mr. Yeager has worked at the MGM since September 1980. He has been interviewed by no one other than the

MGM attorneys, however, he did receive a flyer to fill out.

Raymond Yeager had been assigned to the kitchen post, lunch relief, coffee relief, etc.

Mr. Yeager said that he went through the kitchen at least three times. The last time being between 6:15 and 6:45.

Between 4:00 and 5:OO a.m., Mr. Yeager walked through the Deli, Barrymore seating area and busing station

behind the pie case and noted nothing unusual.

At the time of the fire, Mr. Yeager was at the stage door, between Ziegfield room and Celebrity. A tall

maintenance man came from the hallway and said there was a fire in the Deli.

Mr. Yeager stated that he helped people (employees) get out the fire exit in the hallway. He said it looked like

smoke was coming through air vents in the hallway. He went to the south stairwell and helped get people out. The

highest floor that Mr. Yeager went was the 19th floor. He indicated that after only about 10 minutes the lights went

out and smoke was everywhere.

Mr. Yeager stated that he had made three complete rounds through restaurant areas and all doorways and

hallways. Two other times he opened doors and looked and never saw anything unusual. He stated that it was a very

quiet night.

Before 3:00 a.m., he called in the smell of gas. He called Maintenance and they said they are cleaning grease pits.

He indicated that he caught one employee sleeping in the Barrymore on November 7, 1980 (Mendoza, a Stewart,

Empl. #33202) at 5:45 a.m. He walked through the Deli kitchen at approximately 6:30 a.m. and noted nothing



-Linda Lambert has been employed by the MGM since September, 1980. Ms. Lambert has not been interviewed by

anyone other than the MGM attorneys.

On November 21, 1980, she was assigned in a truck on outside patrol.

Ms. Lambert came in after 7:00 a.m. and was standing at the security booth. George Williams asked if she had a

radio and she said yes. He asked her to go with him and when they got to the Deli, George radioed back that they needed

the Fire Department. The whole right side wall, as you look in, was in flames. There was not a lot of smoke, just


They went and got fire equipment. Ms. Lambert got an extinguisher at the bottom of the escalator near the helpshall.

She went back to the Deli and it was a bigger fire. George came with a hose. When he sprayed water there was a

force and it knocked them out of there. Ms. Lambert was standing on top of the stairs and it blew her back to pit #7.

She got up and noticed the Parisian Bar already was on fire. She told Sgt. Williams to get everyone out. She then

helped get the people in the main pit #l out to the Flamingo side. She then went to the front entrance and broke the

glass so people could get out.


Ms. Lambert stated that she then went to the little bar on the Flamingo side and sent those people out through the

doors. The casino at this time was full of smoke. She went back to the Reef Bar and helped the bartender out.


Calvin Thomas has been employed by the MGM for approximately 4 years. He has been interviewed by no one

other than the MGM attorneys.

Mr. Thomas indicates he was assigned to the lower arcade area, near Silly Shirts. He kept people from entering

back up into the arcade. He assisted in getting those persons from the paint shop out. He assisted in crowd control on

the front part of the MGM and indicated that he was not in the Deli area.


Jack D. Williams has been employed by the MGM for seven years two months. He is presently a Security Sgt.

working 12 midnight to 8:00 a.m., shift and was workng this shift on November 21, 1980.

Jack Williams was working at the security control booth near the casino cage. He received a telephone call from

an engineer who said to get the Fire Department, there was a fire in the Deli.

Jack Williams picked up the telephone (hot line) to PBX operator and told them to get the Fire Department, there

was a fire in the Deli and the PBX Supervisor told him the Fire Department had already been called (hot line goes to

PBX Supervisor).

Jack Williams sent four or five guards to the Deli area and he cold only see them go up steps.

He talked to Officer Huggins on the radio and instructed him to break the glass out and get the fire hose out. He

replied “it was too late sarge”. He then told him to get all the people out.

Williams told people in the cage to get out. The change girls and poker boss called and wanted to know what was

happening. Williams told him to get all his people out.

Williams indicated he heard PBX operator over the P.A. system in the casino give instructions to evacuate the

place is on fire. Williams said he heard this more than once.

Williams sent Lambert, Huggins, Pickett (those were who he could remember) and others that were working up

there in the general area.


Employed at the MGM hotel for approximately seven years as a security officer. He has been

interviewed by one hotel attorney and given a questionnaire to fill out and return by mail. No other individual or investigators

have interviewed him.

On November 21, 1980, he was assigned to the casino floor, mainly the East casino slots, with routine activity,

rather slow. At about 7:15 a.m., he heard Sgt. Williams call two other officers (Huggins and Pickett) to go to the Deli

area and check for a possible 402. He heard shouting on the radio the fire was out of control.

He saw Officer Bill Lane running through the casino and out the doors on the Flamingo side. He thought he was

responding to a fight. He met him outside the Flamingo entrance and asked him what was going on. Lane indicated to

Rossi he was waiting for the Fire Department. They were standing outside when the alarmed doors opened. Guests

and employees came running out.

They both went inside the crash doors and helped people out. The smoke was nearly to the doorway and the

smoke was about three feet above the floor. Cashiers and cocktail waitresses came out. Bill Lane was about three feet

ahead of Rossi and Rossi indicated he lost sight of him. Bill Lane and another guard, he believed was Horton, were

helping another employee out. Rossi could not see anybody else. He saw flames in the casino by looking through the

doors and stayed outside the rest of the time.


Mr. Smith has been employed by the MGM as a security officer for six and one half years. He has been interviewed

by MGM attorneys only, no other individuals or investigators.

On November 21, 1980, Mr. Smith worked the 12:00 midnight to 8:00 a.m., shift, his station being the time office.

he indicated he saw smoke coming down the hall and got employees out the back end at the employees entrance.

Officer Childs helped two porters who passed out and brought them back to the arcade.

Officer Thomas told him to evacuate the persons in the back area. He told people to stand by at doors. He went

to the East stairwell and brought people out and put them on busses and just stood by to assist. He was assigned to

floor 18 and checked all the rooms and everyone was gone. At 4:00 p.m., Mr. Smith went home.


Mr. Vacelli has been employed by the MGM as a security officer since November 12, 1979. He has not been interviewed

by any investigator, but he did receive a questionnaire from the MGM attorney for him to fill out and return.

On November 20, 1980 (12:00 midnight to 8:00 a.m.) Vacelli was assigned to work security in the towers. At approximately

5:30 a.m., he reported to the Flamingo entrance and relieved the security officer for lunch. At approximately

6:05 a.m., he came to the casino to work the slot fills. He was at the security booth in the casino when Sgt.

Wiliams received a call, saying there is a fire in the Deli.

Vacelli, along with Williams, Lambert, Huggins and Picket& were sent by Sgt. Williams to see what they could

do. They ran into the Deli and the wall on the right hand (South West wall) was engulfed in fire.

After seeing this everyone scattered, looking for fire hoses or extinguishers.

Officer Huggins had a radio and Vacelli told him to call the stand and tell them to get the Fire Department. Sgt.

Williams said they had already been notified.

That was the last time he saw any of them. From there he went back and got a radio. He tried to slow the people

down who were running through the casino. He was walking toward the elevators trying to slow the people up.

He first heard the noise “swoosh” then the smoke. Dark black smoke came out of the Deli and fire behind it. He

couldn’t see anything in the casino the smoke was so black. He started choking and held his breath. He could hear a

door that had an alarm going off. He walked toward the sound and found the door and went out.

Huggins had a radio and he called the stand. He said, “I can’t see anymore” and then he said he couldn’t breath

anymore. Officer Yeager was the one who heard this and told Vacelli.


Mr. Westaby has been employed by the MGM for seven years. The only interviews he has had regarding the fire

were with hotel attorneys. No other individuals or investigators.

Mr. Westaby stated that he was working the employee parking lot the 12:00 midnight to 8:OO a.m. shift.

He saw smoke coming from vents at the 5th floor level. The first smoke was pale blue haze, changing to yellowish

orange tinge. About this time he heard the call, officer go to the Deli. This color turned to brown then getting darker

until it turned black smoke and the South tower was obscure.

Mr. Westaby indicated that his phone did not work and his radio was not on the same frequency. He was out of

touch with everyone.


Mr. Childs indicated he has worked at the MGM for seven months. He stated that he has talked with no one

about the events of the fire except the MGM attorney.

Mr. Childs’ normal station of security is at the Helps-hall.

At approximately 7:20 a.m., Officer Lambert came by his post and got the fire extinguisher. This was the only

notification he got as his radio had not worked since 2:30 a.m.

He gave her the extinguisher then went into the arcade and looked in the hallway. He saw no smoke. After a

couple minutes went by he indicated he saw smoke and stopped dealers from going upstairs. The smoke was getting

heavier. Officer Williams came down and said to evacuate everyone out back. He then went to the helps-hall. He went

upstairs and the smoke was spreading through the casino. He said he saw a little flame from the Deli.

He then went downstairs and got a fire hose and went back up. The fire was spreading. The gift shop upstairs was

in flames. The smoke was thick. George Williams was checking downstairs and called out that he found two people

passed out in the service elevator area and they carried them out the back. Mr. Childs said they made three trips into

the casino looking for survivors. The ceiling was burning and collapsing. He did not find anymore and then went out

the rear arcade area.

Mr. Childs indicated he went into the E Tower on the 24th and 25th floors. He shot the door handles off the fire

exit doors to get back inside as smoke was in this stairway.


- Mr. Matthews has been employed at the MGM since October, 1979. He has been interviewed by MGM attorneys

only and no other individuals or investigators.

On the date of the fire he worked the casino floor until 2:45 a.m., after which he went to the stage door post until

- 7:12 a.m., when he heard Sgt. Williams dispatch a possible 402 in the Deli area, and the fire department was needed

and they were on their way. He heard someone say they were loosing it (the fire). Sgt. Williams instructed everyone to

vacate the area.

He assisted in getting people out of the back area. He did not go back to the casino area.




I, Philip Dean Murphy, am 56 years of age and my address is 5216 South Pecos, Las Vegas. Home phone is 451-1743.

Business phone is 451-1743.

I was notified on December 3, 1980 to contact the Clark County Fire Department, per their request to assist them

in determining if there was any hydraulic, electrical or mechanical problem with a compressor they had in their

custody. I arrived at the Clark County Fire Station #18 on December 9, 1980, in the morning hours, and was shown a

refrigeration condensing unit which I immediately recognized as a “Tecumseh” model, one of which I am familiar

with. Captain Lomprey, from the Fire Department requested I examine this unit as soon as possible, and I agreed to

conduct the examination on December 12, 1980, at 1300 hours at Clark County Fire Station #18. I left the area and

returned on Friday the 12th as agreed with two employees, Pat Murphy and Gary Magelssen.

The unit was placed in the apparatus floor at the fire station and I proceeded to examine it. Present were

numerous persons, including Fire Chief Roy Parrish, Capt. Patterson, Capt. Lomprey and Capt. Burns.

In my opinion, I advised the investigators of the following information:

The small copper tube supply discharge line should carry a pressure from 125/135 p.s.i., at a temperature of 100”

to 110’ F. The larger copper tube is the return with 15 to 30 p.s.i. at 30’ to 35 ’ F. To avoid overheating or sudden heat

build up the “Tecumseh” compressor has built into it a Klixon Device which is a therm0 overload mechanism that

shuts the unit down when it becomes overheated.

Captain Lomprey asked me if there was a ‘timer’ to the unit which would allow the unit to shut down for

defrosting. I did not see a defrost unit attached to compressor, however, I explained to Captain Lomprey it is very

common to have a ‘timer’ attached or remote from the unit for defrost purposes.

There is a pressure operated switch that controls the temperature in the pastry display case. This shuts down

(cycles) the system at a factory preset pressure.

When the compressor is running or functioning, slight vibrations are extended into and on any attached tubing or

piping. This is a normal function and impossible to correct, as any motor or other hydraulic unit operates with slight

vibrations. I have never, in 38 years, seen or heard of a compressor that does not vibrate slightly.

The tubes that were in the wall which carried the freon should have been coated with armaflex insulation. The

suction line, which is the return copper tube, should be insulated. If that line were coated with armaflex, it would not

gather condensation, in this case, not being coated with armaflex, in my opinion, was not insulated properly. It is also

my opinion one should never run copper with aluminum in the same chaseway, especially if either or both are not insulated.

The phenomenon known as “galvanic action” will occur.

The heat dissipated from the condenser coils ranges approximately from + 120” to + 180” F. This air or heated

air should be allowed to flow unobstructed into the atmosphere to avoid a heat build-up around the condenser or compressor.

When I conducted the test on the “Tecumseh” unit, I observed the following:

Those electrical components attached to and into the unit were functioning prior to the fire in my opinion. If I

could have plugged this unit in an electrical outlet, it would have functioned electrically perfect. There was no evidence

of any electrical short or fault in this machine.


Mechanically, this unit was in excellent shape, all moving parts or material needed for proper operation functioned

properly, according to my test. In my opinion, this unit was mechanically sound prior to the fire.

Hydraulically this unit was sound. Although the copper tubing was cut away from the condenser and compressor

I determined that the hydraulic fluid level in the compressor was full to its proper level. The hydraulic fluid is actually

lubricating oil to lubricate the bearings and other moving parts in the cornpresser. This oil appeared to me to be brand

new or normal. There was no burnt odor. According to my test I conducted all moving parts functioned in a normal

manner and this unit was not “frozen” or appeared damaged in any way.

It is my opinion the test I performed on December 12, 1980 concluded the “Tecumseh” refrigeration compressor

#8327-17 (E-F0773-C 710068) cat #34 #LRA 32-5 115 v.; 60 Hz; 50 Hz had no electrical, mechanical or hydraulic

fault prior to the MGM fire. This unit functioned perfectly in each test I performed. It is my further opinion this unit

was not nor did not start or cause to start this fire; however, its location (construction enclosure) is questionable as to

its location, as were the construction techniques employed while installing the copper tube to the pastry case.

I have made this statement to Captain Lorne Lomprey, Fire Investigator, Clark County Fire Department, on my

own free will.

Back to MGM Fire Case

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